Living in California, spending a long weekend in Palm Springs happened very often. It was a great place to get away and relax. One of the more exciting things to do while visiting the area was taking a ride on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. We recently rode the tram at the Royal Gorge, and there were a few similarities. Apparently, it is the largest rotating aerial tramway in the world. Before its construction, the only way to the top of the mountain was to hike a number of hours from Idyllwild.
Palm Springs Aerial Tramway opened in September 1963 as a way of getting from the floor of the Coachella Valley to relatively near the top of San Jacinto Peak and was constructed in rugged Chino Canyon. Before its construction, the only way to the top of the mountain was to hike a number of hours from Idyllwild. The inaugural ride was on September 12th of that year. Since 1963, nearly 18 million people have traveled via the tramway.
Today the twelve-and-a-half-minute ride begins at the Valley Station and passes up North America’s sheerest mountain face through five life zones (biomes) on its way to the Mountain Station at 8,516 feet above mean sea level. You start in the Sonoran Desert and arrive at an alpine forest. The view at the top can stretch northward for more than 200 miles on a clear day, all the way to Mount Charleston north of Las Vegas, Nevada. Views to the east and west can stretch as far as 75 miles. The Salton Sea is plainly visible to the southeast.
The first time I went up the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway I was a little worried that it would get stuck more than the fact of how high we were climbing. Luckily it didn’t stop, stall, or have any complications, which made me feel much better on subsequent visits. 🙂 I was actually able to admire and really appreciate the amazing and breathtaking views.
Once you get off at the top of the tramway, there are quite a few things to do. During the summer months, you can take a nice little hike while enjoying the view. They even have (or had anyway) free 40 minutes guided nature walks you can join. They also have camping when the weather is nice. During the winter months, you can enjoy snowshoeing (rentals available) and cross country skiing (rentals available). Either time of the year, take a few moments to just sit, relax, and enjoy the beauty around you.
If you get hungry while up there they have two restaurants for you to choose from Peaks Restaurant and Pines Café. According to their website, Peaks restaurant is a Culinary Experience Above the Clouds. The chefs have created a menu featuring a variety of fresh vegetables and greens from the Coachella Valley. Dry-aged meats and poultry along with fresh bread from local bakeries are also available. Pines Café is a cafeteria-style restaurant and offers a variety of menu selections for lunch and dinner. Lunch items include pizza, grab & go sandwiches, salads, and soup. They also have a dinner selection. Check out their site above for more information and pricing.
I have always enjoyed the views from the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, as well as the peaceful relaxing feeling I get when I am up there on top of the world. Hope you can visit Palm Springs one day and take the time to visit. Here is a link to the website with more information. Please share your visit or thoughts if you have done this attraction. Would love to hear from you.
Palm Springs Aerial Tramway Visitor Information
1 Tram Way Palm Springs, CA 92262
Thursday – Monday
First Tram up 8:00 am.
Last Tram up at 4:20 pm.
Last Tram down at 6:00 pm
Cars depart at least every half hour.
|Children||$16.95 (ages 3-10)|
*Available May 1
|$80 Adults & Seniors (65+)
$40 Children (ages 3-10)
|Annual Pass||$160.00 Adults & Seniors (65+)
$90.00 Children (ages 3-10)
Ride ‘n’ Dine Prices
Prices include round-trip Tram fare and dining in Pines Café. Available after 4 pm.
Parking opens at 7 a.m. Thursday – Monday.
$10.00 for cars and motorcycles
$10.00 for oversized vehicles, motor homes and tractors without trailers
*Parking availability and prices are subject to change.*
Parking for guests with disabilities is available and designated. A valid disability parking permit is required. Once you arrive at the security gate, a guard will direct you to the correct lot. Standard parking rates apply.
Oversized vehicles will also be directed by the guard to the correct lot, once you arrive at the security gate. Standard parking rates apply.
• Motor homes
• Passenger vehicles with a trailer
• Recreational vehicles (RV)
According to their website, the Valley Station, Mountain Station and Tram Cars are handicap accessible.
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